Cowen Offers Commentary on Two Biotech Stocks: MEI Pharma Inc (MEIP), Genocea Biosciences Inc (GNCA)


Cowen analysts came out today with an optimistic view on the oncology company MEI Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:MEIP) and vaccine development company Genocea Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:GNCA), as the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) tried to recover recent losses with gains of nearly 2% today.

MEI Pharma Inc

Cowen analyst Boris Peaker reiterated an Outperform rating on shares of MEI Pharma, after the company  announced that data from its Phase II clinical studies of Pracinostat in elderly acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and previously untreated myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) have been selected by the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Program Committee for oral presentation at the 57th ASH Annual Meeting & Exposition in Orlando on December 7, 2015.

Peaker noted, “We expect to see survival data at ASH and believe anything beyond 1 year warrants Phase III development.” Furthermore, “Also expected at ASH is the first look at Phase II MDS data. To date, all that has been reported was that the study of pracinostat in combination with Vidaza in front-line MDS had missed its primary CR endpoint. We would not dismiss this study completely as we expect to see important secondary endpoints at ASH including DOR, PFS and OS.”

“Given that shares are trading around cash, we believe any positive data here could be a significant catalyst for MEIP,” the analyst concluded.

According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Boris Peaker has a total average return of 22.2% and a 47% success rate. Peaker has a -37.6% average return when recommending MEIP, and is ranked #100 out of 3769 analysts.

As of this writing, out of the 6 analysts polled by TipRanks, 3 rate MEI Pharma stock a Buy, while 3 rate the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 256%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $6.13.

Genocea Biosciences Inc

In a research report published today, Cowen’s Phil Nadeau reiterated an Outperform rating on shares of Genocea Biosciences, with a price target of $40, after the company announced positive results from a planned interim analysis of data collected six months after dosing from its ongoing Phase 2 dose optimization trial evaluating GEN-003 for the treatment of genital herpes.

Nadeau wrote, “We think today’s data confirm GEN-003’s activity, and suggest that its impact on viral shedding and genital lesions is quite durable. We think these data improve upon GEN-003’s prior Phase I/II trial that demonstrated positive results using 30ug of antigen + 50ug of adjuvant, with the higher antigen doses generating improved longevity of effect, and greater reductions in viral shedding.”

The analyst continued, “We think GEN-003 continues to demonstrate a commercially attractive profile. Management believes the directional improvement in viral shedding at 6 months within the highest dose group (58%) compared to the prior Phase I/II dataset could indicate that responses will be durable beyond 6 months and reach at least 12 months in this trial. We do not believe such an improvement is required for successful commercialization. However, if achieved it could increase GEN-003’s penetration of the genital herpes market and/or increase Genocea’s pricing power. These factors would represent upside to our model.”

According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Phil Nadeau has a total average return of 17.1% and a 49% success rate. Nadeau has a -23.2% average return when recommending GNCA, and is ranked #245 out of 3769 analysts.

All the 5 analysts polled by TipRanks rate Genocea Biosciences stock a Buy. With a return potential of 241%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $21.67.